News / Africa

Amid Conflict, Mali's Weak Economy Worries Economists

A motorcyclist waves his support as French troops in two armored personnel carriers drive through Mali's capital Bamako on the road to Mopti, January 15, 2013.
A motorcyclist waves his support as French troops in two armored personnel carriers drive through Mali's capital Bamako on the road to Mopti, January 15, 2013.
Heather Murdock
— The World Bank says it is accelerating its support for Mali's government as the country’s economy slows.  Surrounded by impoverished countries, the bank worries that a prolonged conflict in Mali could damage the region’s already fragile economy. 

Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world, in the middle of one of the poorest regions in the world.  Both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund rank Mali and six of its seven neighbors among the world’s 50 poorest countries.

The crisis in Mali that has already drawn troops from France and Nigeria is making things worse economically for Mali and its trading partners.

“Mali’s a landlocked country and a lot of the economic activity is imports, based on either the truck industry in neighboring countries or the port.  The Port of Dakar has a lot of activity linked to Mali so a slow down in port in Mali will affect a slow down in some of these activities,” said World Bank Vice President for Africa Mouktar Diop in the Nigerian capital Tuesday.

  • A French soldier holds his weapon in the village of Sarakala, Mali, January 18, 2013.
  • Goats walk past a French military convoy refuelling in Markala, Mali, January 18, 2013.
  • People cross a strategic bridge over a dam on the Niger River secured by French forces in Markala, Mali, January 18, 2013.
  • A Malian soldier checks the identity of people crossing a strategic bridge over a dam on the Niger River secured by French forces in Markala, Mali, January 18, 2013.
  • French military vehicles drive to the north of Mali, at an undisclosed location, January 16, 2013. (French Army Communication Audiovisual Office)
  • French helicopters are towed to the military side of Bamako's airport, Mali, January 16, 2013.
  • A motorcyclist waves his support as French troops in two armored personnel carriers drive through Mali's capital Bamako on the road to Mopti, January 15, 2013.
  • French soldiers walk past a hangar they are staying at the Malian army air base in Bamako, January 14, 2013.
  • French soldiers test equipment at the Malian air base in Bamako, January 14, 2013.
  • French air force technicians work on a Mirage F-1 fighter jet at the Malian army air base in Bamako, January 14, 2013.
  • A French soldiers lies on his mattress in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako, January 14, 2013.

Mali’s economic growth has already slowed considerably, he says, and its neighbors like Ivory Coast and Senegal are losing business.

“You have, for instance, a few products linked to low-income consumption which was produced in neighboring countries and exported in[to] Mali.  So a slow down of that sector will affect those producers,” said Diop. 

Diop says the World Bank is working to speed up aid programs that were halted briefly last year after a coup left the bank without a known government to support.  He says the bank is also working on a plan to lend direct support to Mali’s national budget. 

The real economic disaster, he says - the one that could make West Africa’s population even poorer - will come only if the conflict drags on, increasing the number of displaced people and leaving the 350,000 already displaced dependent on aid to survive.

Mali's government lost control of the north last April, after renegade soldiers overthrew the president.  Tuareg separatists initially swept into northern cities and proclaimed an independent state, but were soon pushed aside by Islamist militant groups with links to al-Qaida and the goal of imposing a strict form of Sharia.

Along with France and Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal and Togo are also planning to send troops to Mali.  Rebels say French intervention has initiated a war that will be longer and more brutal than Afghanistan or Somalia.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Fred Flintsone
January 16, 2013 1:02 PM
Mali has considerable mineral resources. Like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya they have rich resources, neither Sudan where world has watched 2 million die nor Rwanda where 1.5 died do. Thought you might like to know that Voice of America.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid